Oonagh Hurley

“Often we assign too much stability to memory, as if it were fixed and constant. Memory moves. It changes with each retrieval, as we impose our experience on the memory. Perhaps forgetting is the natural process and remembering unnatural. With our accumulation of life experience, photo album memory, the written and spoken word, we reassemble memory in a fluid and non- linear way. It is often the most mundane, incidental moments, which we store in our deepest memory that can stir the most visceral emotions in us. We conceal, expose, select, colour it, intertwining reality and fiction, creating open-ended stories. We add and remove our own layers to memory as though it were as malleable and as fluid as the paint on the canvas. My paintings are made in much the same way. I gather images that evoke the notion of memory for me. They are often of mundane incidental moments from my own personal photographs, media images and stills from my fathers old Super 8mm films. The chance elements that result from the pouring and layering of paint often prompt the composition and lead to an assemblage of open-ended scenes – much like the anatomy of memory” Oonagh Hurley, 2019.

Oonagh Hurley is a painter based in Cork. Her work is mainly figurative, investigating the processes of remembering and forgetting. She has exhibited with the Catherine Hammond Gallery since 2014. Her work has been selected for RHA and RUA annual exhibitions 2019, and Boyle Arts Festival 2018. She recently exhibited her ‘Women Unremembered’ series of portraits in The Atrium City Hall Cork (March 2019), in celebration of International Women’s Day and the naming of the new pedestrian bridge after Mary Elmes, one of her subjects in the portrait series. She has been a visiting professional artist to first year architecture students (reviews of their brief to design an artist’s residency) in Cork Centre for Architectural Education (CCAE). She works from a studio in Marina Commercial Park, Cork.

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